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Russian propaganda plays a role in 'brain drain' from Belarus - expert

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Euroradio

Doubtful prospects on the labor market and Russian propaganda are the two factors that force Belarusians who have graduated from foreign universities stay outside of Belarus. While the absence of attractive job vacancies is a long-standing problem, the negative information flow coming from the East is a relatively recent cause of the problem. It was a group of experts led by Anatol Lysyuk, Doctor of Political Sciences, which came to this conclusion after having conducted a survey of 560 respondents from across Belarus.

“The issue of “brain drain” has been on agenda for several years now but the authorities, roughly speaking, are doing nothing about it. That's why we are conducting this outreach campaign in order to draw attention to this category of people and think about how to offer them a workplace in Belarus, so that they would receive here both pleasure and economic benefits,” Anatol Lysyuk told Euroradio.

Anatol Lysyuk/ Euroradio

The majority of respondents said that the traditional bodies like the Ministry of Education and local administrations should deal with the employment of Belarusian graduates from foreign universities.

The situation with the opposition to Russian propaganda is more difficult, however.

“If you go to the Russian websites, you will see endless articles about finally 'taking' Belarus. In a situation when the future of Belarus is unclear, many do not really see the prospects for the development of society. This also makes people angry, because life in foreign countries is more stable,” continues Anatol Lysyuk.

According to UNESCO, as of late 2018, 26-27 thousand Belarusian students studied abroad. The number of Belarusians studying in the other countries increased more than five times from between 2001 and 2015.

According to the expert of the Public Bologna Council Uladzimir Dunayeu, about 60% of the total number of students who left Belarus went to study in Russia. At the same time, only 9.2% of Anatol Lysyuk-led survey participants reckon that it would make sense to send Belarusian specialists to Russia to improve their skills. They would rather consider the countries of the European Union (52.4%), USA (34.8%) and China (22.6%).

Responding to the question whether successful reforms can be carried out in Belarus without specialists who have received higher education or improved their skills abroad, the respondents were almost equally divided: 40.6% think they can, while 40.0% think they can't ( another 19.4% found the question difficult to answer). Answering the same question, the experts were less optimistic. Only 26.6% of them believe in successful reforms without the help of expatriots. 60.0% rule out this possibility.